Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

BULAWAYO Mayor Solomon Mguni has urged caution in reopening schools as the city is facing challenges in supplying water needed for personal hygiene to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The mayor has said schools in the city must invest in water storage containers before reopening in view of the water crisis.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is working on modalities to ensure the staggered reopening of schools.

The schools will open at a time when Bulawayo’s water crisis has worsened due to depleting water levels in its supply dams.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) on Monday imposed a six-day weekly water shedding exercise to try and conserve water and schools are not sparred from the programme.

The city’s mayor said Covid-19 compels the public to constantly wash hands as one of the global pandemic’s mitigation measures.

He was speaking during a Covid-19 schools response planning meeting at Eveline High School in Bulawayo on Monday.

Cllr Mguni said in view of the pandemic schools should buy large water containers to store water to enhance practicing of good personal hygiene.

“It will be amiss for me not to mention that as we think about reopening of schools, it will be important that the stakeholders in the education industry think about the water situation the city currently find itself in. I must state that as of Friday May 15 2020 the city’s supply dams stood at 30 percent full meaning, they are 70 percent empty,” said Cllr Mguni.

“With water being an essential component in the fight against Covid-19, we would urge our schools both private and public to complement the efforts of the city of rolling out water bowsers by installing jojo tanks. This is mainly to ensure that when the city bowsers come to deliver water there is enough containers to empty those bowsers and we are able to practice safe hygiene at all times.”

He said the outbreak of Covid-19 has brought with it a new set of values and added tasks; hence the public must adjust behaviour.

Cllr Mguni said players in the education sector should involve both teachers and learners in planning for better reopening of schools.

“We are observing that the schools have started the journey to prepare for their reopening and opening better.  As we are all aware the school calendar was disrupted by Covid-19 and there is need to catch up with time for the benefit of our learners. Learners need to be actively involved to ensure that when all the institutions open, they are safe and ready for learning.

The teachers also need to be educated about the new normal which is yet to unfold,” said Cllr Mguni.

The mayor said the public need to getting used to social distancing, enhanced hygiene practices and sanitizing hands now and then.

He said it was prudent for residents to follow the laid down regulations to mitigate against the spread of Covid-19.

@nqotshili